Pane di Altamura (Semolina Sourdough) from Daniel Leader's 'Local Breads'
I finally had some success with Daniel Leader's Pane di Altamura (Semolina Sourdough).
The problem, as other posters noted, is that the recipe is almost certainly in error (or it assumes a durum semolina with much greater absorption than the ones I can purchase. This time it was Bob's Redmill).
Without correction, it results in a very high-hydration dough (ciabatta-like!) that wouldn't be able to hold a shape. Expect +/- 25% correction in flour/water, respectively.
I anticipated a second-rise after shaping, but there's none mentioned. It's right into the oven. I'd consider this another error, but the oven-spring is more than I expected for a dough that was about 1.5" high on oven insert. Then again, the bread is said to be renowned for its awesome size, so maybe there needs to be a second rise? What say ye?
The crust is its best feature, having a really nice mouth-feel.
The crumb is tight and dense (not as dense as my previous attempts, which were essentially chewable semolina rocks).
It's about 80% as dense as a well-made bagel and is very moist, even after baking a long time (55 @ 450 F). The moisture is probably why it has such a long shelf-life; Leader says 5 days.
The flavor is quite nice: subtle, sour, sweet, not-at-all boring like some semolina breads, which require dosing with sesame seeds or whatnot to coax flavor into them.
Will I make it again? I don't know.
If I do, I'll try a different recipe before returning to Leader's, if only to see the contrast.